Arsenal reached the knockout stage of the Champions League for the 15th straight season with a 2-0 win over Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday night, and Liverpool put itself in position to advance if it wins at home over Basel next month.
Yaya Sanogo ended his 15-month wait to score for Arsenal with a second-minute goal in London, and Alexis Sanchez scored in the 57th. Borussia Dortmund (4-1) already had clinched in Group D, and the Gunners (3-1-1) are assured of no worse than second place.
“I’m very proud of that and the club deserves a lot of credit for that,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said of the streak. “It’s not enough because we want more than that, but we are consistent.”
Atletico Madrid and Bayer Leverkusen also clinched berths in the final 16.
Real Madrid (5-0) clinched first place in Group B as Cristiano Ronaldo scored in a 1-0 win at Basel (2-3), which is second with six points. Liverpool and Ludogorets are 1-3-1 with four points, and Liverpool holds the tiebreaker based on head-to-head record going into the Dec. 9 match.
“We need to win a game at the end against Basel, and at the start we would have looked at that game as the one to see us through,” Liverpool manager Brendan Rogers said. “It should be a great night at Anfield.”
At Sofia, Bulgaria, Liverpool tied Ludogorets 2-2 as it tries to reach the knockout stage for the first time since 2008-09. Dani Abalo scored in the third minute after goalkeeper Simon Mignolet allowed a rebound on Marcelinho’s shot, but the Reds went ahead on Rickie Lambert’s first Champions League goal in the eighth minute and Jordan Henderson’s goal in the 37th. Georgi Terziev tied the score with a header off a corner kick in the 88th.
At Basel, Ronaldo tapped in a cross from Karim Benzema in the 35th minute, and Real Madrid matched its club record of 15 consecutive victories in all competitions. Ronaldo’s 71st Champions League goal tied Raul Gonzalez for second behind Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, whose hat trick Tuesday gave him a record 74. Ronaldo has 26 goals in 19 games this season, including four in five Champions League matches.
Atletico (4-1), which lost to Real in last season’s final, beat Olympiakos 4-0 in Group A as Mario Mandzukic scored in the 38th, 62nd and 65th minutes after Raul Garcia put the hosts ahead in the ninth. Juventus (3-2) opened a three-point lead over Olympiakos (2-3) for second place by winning 2-0 at Malmo on goals by Fernando Llorente in the 49th and Carlos Tevez in the 88th.
Leverkusen (3-2) was assured of advancing from Group C when Zenit St. Petersburg won 1-0 against Benfica on Danny’s 79th-minute goal in an early game. The German club lost 1-0 at home to Monaco, which went ahead when substitute Lucas Ocampos scored with his first touch in the 72nd.
Anderlecht beat Galatasaray 2-0 in a Group D game between eliminated teams. Chancel Mbemba scored in the 44th and 86th minutes, the second off a pass from American midfielder Sacha Kljestan.
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